Friday, 6 December 2019
But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 1 Peter 4:7
Peter now gives a sound reason for arming oneself and for being prepared to give a sound defense for the faith. He says, “But the end of all things is at hand.” The word translated as “is at hand” is used for the last time here by Peter.
It is a common word which signifies “to draw near.” It can be near as in a location, such as “drawing near to Damascus.” It can be near in time, such as “midnight draws near.” It can be drawing near an event, such as “his death is at hand,” and etc.
Here, it is in the perfect tense, signifying extreme closeness. It is used in this same manner by Paul in Romans 13:12 and by James in James 5:8. All three speak of the imminency of the end of the age. The rapture of the church, and what comes after that, has been imminent from the start of the church age. There is no time that a believer could rightly say, “the Lord won’t come back today.” Therefore, that day is always at hand.
As Peter is specifically written to the Jews, and as his epistles are after Paul’s Gentile-led church age epistles, it is a good indication that it is intended for the Jews of the end times, after their regathering. And so, the words apply as much to the rapture for messianic believers as they do for those who are converted after the rapture. The entire set of end-times events is “at hand.”
Because of this, Peter says, “Therefore.” He is summing up the thought with words of exhortation which border on warning. With that said, he continues with “be serious.” The word he uses signifies to be right-minded, or clear-minded. It is an interesting word he chooses, sóphroneó, now used for the last time in Scripture.
HELPS Word Studies describes it as “[The whole word-family (root, sōphro-) comes from two words: sōos (‘safe’) and phrēn (‘what regulates life,’ the root of the English term, ‘diaphram’). Example: An opera singer controls the length (quality) of their tones by their diaphragm, which even controls our ability to breathe and moderates heartbeat. This regulates (‘brings safety’) to the body, keeping it properly controlled.]”
To this, Peter adds to be “watchful in your prayers.” The word signifies being sober. In other words, he exhorts his reader to be rational and clear-minded in prayer.
These things are especially important, again, because of the imminency of the coming of the Lord at the rapture, which is then to be followed with the tribulation and the second advent of Christ. The sequence of events could be at any time, and so believers need to be ready at all times.
Life application: Take your prayers seriously and don’t neglect them, the end of all things is at hand…Christ could return at any moment. Have you been negligent in telling others about Jesus? There is no time like the present, the end of all things is at hand…Christ could return at any moment. Whatever we do, we should do it with the expectation of Christ’s possible return.
This doesn’t just go for positive things; it should guide our life in not doing wrong things as well. Be honest, don’t lie, don’t steal, watch yourself that you don’t fall into sexual immorality, the end of all things is at hand…Christ could return at any moment.
When Christ returns, whether for us individually in death (be it sudden or from age) or for the whole church in the rapture, we don’t want to be found either neglecting His call or living in a less-than holy manner. Be ready, Christ is coming, and the end of all things is at hand.
Lord, how we need to be reminded of the imminency of Your coming. We often slip into unpreparedness – both in our witness to others and in the conduct of our personal life. Be with us, guide us, and carry us in a manner that will bring You glory on the day of Your visitation. Amen.